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May 12, 2015 4:35 PM, EDT

Trucking Tops $700 Billion Revenue Mark

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Trucking industry revenue set a record last year, reaching $700.4 billion, American Trucking Associations reported.

The trade group announced the milestone in a statement that listed the industry’s achievements, contained in its annual American Trucking Trends report. (Click here to order the report.)

“Last year, we saw freight volumes grow significantly,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “Increases in freight, combined with continued tight capacity, helped drive revenues and coupled with lower fuel prices, we saw motor carriers go on a buying spree for new trucks as they replaced older equipment.”

The report also stated that trucks last year moved nearly 10 billion tons of freight, representing 68.8% of all tonnage. By revenue, trucking accounted for 80.3% of spending on all freight transportation. In 2014 total revenue was $666 billion.

Employment in the industry continues to top 7 million annually, and the number of carriers now is above 1.3 million, or 68 times the amount in 1980 when trucking was deregulated.

Costello said the industry pays more than $16.5 billion in user fees annually and incurs $9 billion in congestion-related costs on U.S. roads.

“It is one thing to say trucking is our economy’s lifeblood, but it is quite another to show it,” ATA President Bill Graves said in the statement.